## Distraction: Tupper’s Self-Referential Formula

Tupper’s Self-Referential Formula is sick, y’all. Tupper was crazy. Any of you hardcore mathematicists (paging Dr. Marain) know what to do with this in a high schoool math class? [via Kottke]

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.

1. #### Todd

January 25, 2007 - 10:32 pm -

That’s to help you with Algebra II standard 18.0, right? Really, that’s waaaaay too hardcore for me. That’s the first half of the equation on the chalkboard in all those movies where the main character first walks into a college classroom, so that the audience feels the heavy intimidation of Harvard or something. Yikes!

2. #### dan

January 25, 2007 - 11:43 pm -

Yeah, I realize the equation looks all hardcore, right, but it’s just a mathematical practical joke. Like, if you graph y = 2x on a graphing calculator, it’s a straight line. But what if you punched in y = 2x and it spelled out y = 2x right there on the screen?! ‘Cause that’s what that scamp Tupper came up with: a function that “spells” itself out when graphed.

You’re underwhelmed, I can tell.

3. #### Todd

January 26, 2007 - 4:49 pm -

Nnnnnnnow I get it! Well then it would be really cool if that actually was the equation on the chalkboard in all those movies.

4. #### Dave Marain

January 28, 2007 - 3:50 am -

that function when graphed spells itself out; the value of n in the expression is beyond my comprehension (200 decimal places? digits?)!
what i did with my class however was to show them the pizza problem:
Express the volume of a thin cylindrical pizza with radius z and height ‘a’: V = pi zz a!! The thought that was ‘way cool!’
dave